Letter # 62 - This touching letter, full of grief over the loss of a baby, is from Janís sister Marchien. Jan and Hendrikienís first child (George) is now two years old and although a second child (Gerrit) has also been born to them (in January of 1887), Marchien apparently does not yet know this.


Wildervank, July 26, 1887

Dear Brother and Sister and children,

Through the mercy of the Lord we find ourselves here all together in reasonably good circumstances, and my heartfelt wish is that you may receive these letters in good health. If it were otherwise I would be sorrowful.

You will certainly have often looked for a letter, because I wrote last winter that whenever the Lord was pleased, our household would increase in number again, not in those exact words. Yes, dear ones, the Lord did let us rejoice for a time with a dear little son, even a Geuchien, but, oh, it was only for a short time. He was born on May 30 and died on July 12. He had inflammation in his tiny intestines.

Oh, dear ones, it pains me so. Even if one has 6 children, one still canít bear to lose even one of them. But what shall we say - itís for the best. May the Lord in his mercy have seen that he was spared from great evil, but, oh, it pains me so. May the Lord grant that it doesnít affect me too terribly. It is true, it was only 6 weeks and he was born by pain, but the parting is another pain that one feels each day. May the Lord grant that I may be able to see that it could have been worse. If I had to lose one of the older ones, I know it would have been worse. I didnít breast feed him either. I had nothing to suck and the others I could satisfy for the first half year.

My dear husband was here just a few days before the birth. They were with the boat in Groningen. It is nowadays so bad with seafaring that itís almost not done anymore. If the trip takes a long time itís no better, and both the inland and ocean-going voyages are equally bad.

How is it going with you? O dear ones, I would so much like to talk with you once and then I could tell it all to you much better than I can write it.

These days itís really dry and people long for rain, which according to the human point of view is necessary for the fruit. But around here it is generally pretty good. Last spring I sent you a letter; it was actually still winter. Then our little Grietje was not doing so well, but the Lord has restored her so that she can use all her bodily parts perfectly again. Fourteen days ago I had a note from our Henderik and Griet and they were all in good health. They did meet my Dear Husband here; he was just home. Detmer has gone to Southampton with a cargo of oats and beans and then they will have to go from there with ballast. You are specially greeted by him and also by our children who are growing up well. Also our dear Berend Geuchien will be 3 years old on September 17 if all goes well. Our Elzina goes every day to sewing and our Mettiena goes in the afternoon and only our Berendiena goes to school now.

How is it going with Rev. Kuiper? He is missed here by everyone. O, I think often about him. Greet her(?) for me and Vonk and his wife when you meet her(?). Now dear ones, nothing exceptional comes to mind to celebrate. This week there will be another big celebration here, but we donít participate in it, so for us itís nothing noteworthy.Now dear ones, I better just conclude. Kiss your dear little boy for me. Having wished for you the indispensable blessing of the Lord for both body and soul, I remain your loving Sister and children

M D Rubingh